Saturday, December 29, 2007

Goodbye 2007

This blog will likely be the last piece I write in 2007. I don't plan to write anything on December 30 or 31, as those numbers are unlucky for me and I must also take down the Christmas tree before the new year arrives. I must also rid myself of all the Christmas gifts I can't use and could also rid myself of a few pounds. I am particulary in dire need of losing my peanut butter fudge handles and my chocolate and butter cookie belly.

First thing I write in 2008 will be a review of everything I wrote in 2007. That should be exciting, don't you think?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stand Up

About fifteen years ago one of my friends decided he wanted to try his hand at being a stand up comedian. He took me out to lunch and asked me to write a few jokes for him. "You're a funny guy, as far as funny goes," he told me, "and if you weren't a pastor, you'd be even funnier. I think you could write me some good stand up material. Just don't mention Jesus."

Well, I tried. I wrote up three or four little bits about his wife and kids (which were just thinly-veiled truths about my own wife and kids) and told him to give these jokes a try. Somehow, he managed to get on stage at an open mic night at a comedy club where, I'm sorry to say, he was nearly booed off the stage.

One thing's for sure, it wasn't my material. It was his presentation. We still debate the reasons why he isn't now Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy. But with the writers' strike in full swing, its obvious that even the most seasoned stand ups and late night hosts can't do a show without good writing. If these guys can't make people laugh, they'll have to blame themselves . . . not the writers. Just ask my friend, the EX-Stand UP.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Reading Christmas Cards

It happens every year. About this time, the only reading I can squeeze into my life is my growing stack of Christmas cards. This year the stack has also swelled with photographs, clippings, and lengthy four-page histories written by those who want to tell me about their children, grand-children, and what they had for lunch a week ago last Wednesday. But I'm reading them all!

Among my cards this year, I have received two sent by bishops.
I've received many from families in the parish.
Everyone in my extended family has sent me a card (along with commentary lambasting me for being the first one to send them a card before Thanksgiving).
I've also heard from old friends.

My mom hasn't sent me a card yet. She gives me my card on Christmas day along with a large, unwrapped sack full of assorted clothing, much of it from Goodwill (she's very frugal). This is where I get my new suits and my supply of underwear for the year.

I can't wait till Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thesaurus 3

Here's my third attempt to write about one of my most-used books: my thesaurus. I'm now on my third one. The other two fell apart from over-use.

I like the thesaurus because it sounds fancy and I like to throw the word around in public. Out to lunch, I might ask the waitress if she's seen my thesaurus. My kids think it is some kind of ancient creature with fangs and horns. I use the word when I talk to my mother on Sunday nights and she thinks I'm asking to talk to my dad.

I find many interesting synonyms in the thesaurus. Witness the following, all on the same page:

hirsute--furry, fuzzy, shaggy
hissy fit--huff, passion, tantrum
hoi polloi--masses, proletariat, public
hoity-toity--grandiose, pretentious

Bored? Read the thesaurus. Keep one in your glove compartment and use it liberally when you talk to the speaker at McDonalds. See what happens.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Thesaurus

Well, writing blogs is fun, if it works well. This blog was originally suppossed to be about my thesaurus. But, alas, it's blank...
Coming thesaurus!
Anyone want to guess what it's about?

My Thesaurus

Friday, December 7, 2007


Pastors write many letters. In 2007 I was asked to write three letters of recommendation for people being considered for the Sagamore of the Wabash--Indiana's highest award. I was honored to do this (really!). In case there are others out there who cherish my good words to the governor, please consider the following. (I've changed most of the details and deleted all the names for the sake of privacy.)

Dear Gov. Daniels,
How are things in Carmel? Do much bass fishing up there? I've got two kayaks and a couple of reels if you ever want to chum around on Eagle Creek. Give me a call.
Anyway...I'm writing in hope that you will give the Sagamore of the Wabash to ________. He's a swell egg and an old friend of mine. Great guy. He deserves it.
Take care, buddy,
Todd O.

Dear Mitch,
You are still my man. I'm writing to ask that you consider __________ for a Sagamore of the Wabash. She's _________ wife. You gave him the award last month, and I think they should have a matching set over their mantle. These awards would look mighty fine with their decor, believe me. They've got one of those singing basses, too!
T. O.
P.S. I live on White Lick creek in Brownsburg. Have you ever considered starting up a Sagamore of the White Lick? Not everyone gets over toward Terre Haute to see the moonlight on that water. Just a thought.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wanna Buy On eBay?

One fascinating book that I read this year was Hemant Mehta's, I Sold My Soul on eBay. It's the true account of an atheist who literally put his soul up for auction on the illustrious web site. The high bidder won Mehta's soul, or, at least got to give him instructions on how he could save his soul and where he needed to attend church. Mehta's account offers his insights into the churches he visited and the people he talked to about all things religious. In the end, not even the best and brightest churches in America could convince him of the reality of God.

But reading Mehta's account of his eBay experience awakened my own curiosity in what I could sell on eBay. Here are a few of the more bizarre, yet very real items, I have in my possession that people might actually be interested in buying. Stranger purchases have been made!

* 1983 Jose Canseco minor league (pre-rookie) baseball card autographed by Jose himself in pre-steroid black marker.
* A palm pilot that needs a new battery.
* Photos of my last place finish in a 2001 body-building competition (no steroids or body hair).
* A large collection of men's after-shave lotions, many dating back to the late 1970s.
* Dinosaur poop.
* Five pounds of ground chuck.
* A weight set I purchased in 1975 and used to create my awesome gut.
* Three broken billiard cues (which my son has destroyed).
* Toenail clippings from last Saturday.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Books in Waiting

Like most people who read, I have my stack of titles that I "intend" to read some day, but just haven't gotten around to pursuing. This past Saturday, I spent a few minutes perusing my library at home and discovered that I've got a least fifty books that are in waiting for me to read: some in piles, some tucked neatly away between other noteworthy books, and a few that I purchased years ago but have forgotten about all together.

I've got several biographies that fit the bill--one thick tome on Mark Twain that I've been intending to read for years, and another on John D. Rockefeller that is nearly 800 pages long (who writes an 800 page book? and what kind of a loser buys a book like this with the intention of reading it?). I also found two histories, one entitled--The Autumn of the Middle Ages--which is a cult classic among Mideaval scholars (who do I think I am?) and 1491 (a history of the America's before Columbus sailed the ocean blue), both of which remain on the shelves collecting dust. Believe it or not, I am excited about the prospects of reading these some day and taking my place among the few, the proud, the isolated.

When I moved to Brownsburg, I purged my library of hundreds of books. But now they have found me again. When I die, my wife won't have to buy a casket. She can just encase me in pages, butter them up, and roll me in a few salted nuts. I'm going to speak to the funeral director next week about preplanning my service in this vein. Got any cashews?